Tiger shark diving
Did you know?
The largest recorded tiger shark weighed in at a whopping 3 110kg
South Africa is one of the few countries in the world that offers cage-free diving tours with tiger sharks. Though it is considered a high-risk activity, strict procedures are followed to ensure diver safety at all times.
The warm waters of the Indian Ocean along South Africa's east coast provide an ideal environment for tiger sharks, and tiger shark diving tours are offered from various venues in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
The Aliwal Shoal region of the KwaZulu-Natal coast is one of the most popular spots for tiger shark diving, with several diving operators offering this adventure activity all year round. In the Eastern Cape, the beautiful coastal town of Port St Johns has been the setting for many tiger shark diving adventures.
A tiger shark dive usually takes divers between 8m and 10m below the surface of the ocean. Visibility in east coast waters averages at 15m. Water temperatures in this region during summer months (November to May) can be as warm as 28°C, and very rarely drop below 18°C.
Tiger sharks are marked by dark stripes running down the sides of their bodies, reminiscent of those of the large feline predator from which they take their name, and can grow up to 5m in length.
Experts advise divers to stay upright in the water at all times, to ensure that sharks do not confuse them with marine wildlife. Participants will need to have completed a diving course before being allowed on the dive, but there are numerous diving schools in South Africa that offer courses.
Anyone with a love for diving – especially underwater photographers – will leave with memories and images to last a lifetime.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Aliwal Dive Centre
Tel: +27 (0)39 973 2233
African Dive Adventures
Tel: +27 (0)39 317 1483
Best time to visit
Though the water remains warm in winter, summer is the best time to enjoy a tiger shark dive.
Because of a lack of public transport options along the east coast of South Africa, travellers are advised to hire their own vehicle.
What will it cost
A tiger shark diving experience of up to 2 hours will cost between R1 200 and R1 500 per person.
Length of stay
A tiger shark dive is a full-day activity.
What to pack
Bring your own diving gear if you have. Otherwise you can rent all the gear you need, while some operators will include the cost of rental equipment in the tour package.